IRFU Sack Jackson and Olding Following Review

Irish rugby player Paddy Jackson one of two players found not guilty of rape in March 2018. Paul Faith  AFP

The decision to part ways with the players comes after the IRFU and Ulster Rugby conducted an internal review following Jackson and Olding's acquittal last month.

Ulster Rugby and the IRFU released a joint statement on Saturday morning.

Both players had been cleared of a rape charge a fortnight ago after a nine week trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Kingspan, the sponsor, told senior individuals in Ulster it was concerned that the fallout from the rugby rape trial was affecting the family-friendly image of the club, a source familiar with the situation said.

Protesters outside Ravenhill this evening.

A rally has been organised for tonight at Kingspan Stadium, ahead of the Guinness Pro 14 game against Ospreys, by Belfast Feminist Network, under the banner 'Stamp out Misogyny at Ulster Rugby'.

The IRFU also announced that they intend to ensure that these core values are applied across the board.

But he added that he was "truly sorry" his behaviour had fallen "far short of the values" expected of him as an worldwide player.

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"Since I was a young boy it was my ambition to play for Ulster and Ireland and I am extremely proud, privileged and honoured to have done so".

'Regrettably, influences outside of my contractual arrangement have made it impossible for that to happen.

Olding said: "I said outside court that the Stuart Olding that you read about in the trial is not the real Stuart Olding". I bear no one any ill will. On the day of the acquittal he said he was sorry for the hurt caused to the complainant.

"It is therefore with great sadness and regret but with many cherished memories that I leave that behind". "To those who have supported me through these last 20 months and especially the fans who continue to support me, I thank you all".

Two other men, friends of the Ulster stars, were also acquitted on separate charges, including exposure and perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile, Craig Gilroy has been sanctioned over a message sent following the alleged incident in 2016, and will be unavailable to play for Ulster until the 26th of April. The conclusion of that review has resulted in the dismissal of both players.

Jackson and Olding are finished at Ulster.

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